MacBook Pro Early 2011" & Guild Wars 2 Performance

iPawl

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 28, 2011
11
0
Malta
I would like to ask if any of you guys have tried playing the game on an Early 2011" MacBook Pro - having the 6750M 1GB variant of the laptop, and would like to share some performance experience?

I'm finding it somewhat ridiculous that running the game at 1024*768 with everything set to low, I get around max 25 FPS, and then upping up the res, adding shadows, reflections etc I still get the same amount of frames.

What kind of sorcery is this? I was blaming the GPU of course, since it always was the bottle neck when it comes to gaming, but I've played SWTOR with very high quality settings set up on this Machine, as well as Diablo III and I haven't had any sort of issues. Guild Wars 2 at this current state is almost unplayable in WvW.

Could the CPU be the culprit? I've also noticed that GPU-Z only uses around 50-60% of GPU load when GW2 is running.

Anyway: Here are my specs.

Processor 2.2 GHz Intel Core i7 (Quad Core Sandy Bridge)
Memory 8 GB 1333 MHz DDR3
Graphics AMD Radeon HD 6750M 1024 MB (12.8 Catalyst drivers, not the Bootcamp drivers)

Would love to hear your experience if you have a 2011 MacBook :)
 

MarcBook

macrumors 6502a
Jul 13, 2008
956
114
United Kingdom
I've not played GW2 yet, but I have a lot of experience with gaming on Boot Camp. I have exactly the same MacBook Pro as you and I'm going to guess that the CPU throttling is having quite a big effect on the performance.

It's a sad fact that with these machines (especially the quad-core i7 models, it seems) suffer rather bad clock speed reduction as they reach their max thermal tolerance, leading to disappointing frame rates.

Does the frame rate always stay low, or have you noticed it dropping within a few minutes of gameplay, as your Mac heats up?

One suggestion I have (although some may view it as risky) is to remove the bottom plate from your Mac. It vastly improves the gaming performance (especially on Boot Camp) when the bottom is removed, since it allows the internal fans to directly draw cool air, instead of air circulating around the casing.

I sometimes run games on my Mac with the bottom off and the machine sat on one of these stands, which happen to have rubber padding in the perfect spots for the Mac's open state; the rubber holds it up at the rear corners and along the battery at the bottom, meaning no damage is done to the internals at all!

Anyway, sorry I can't offer personal experience of the game in question, but I hope you find this helpful nonetheless! :)
 

SlickShoes

macrumors 6502a
Jan 24, 2011
638
0
I have the same macbook pro as you and had 0 of the problems you are having when I played the Beta weekends.

My retail copy should arrive to day so I will let you know how it works.

I see you are on 12.8 drivers, I haven't tried those with GW2 yet when I was in the beta i was on 12.2

I played the beta at 1440x900 res, with everything on medium/high and there was no slowdown at all apart from in World v World battles that had more than 60 ish players on screen at one time with spells going off everywhere.

Anyway I will post back tonight once I play the game and let you know how it goes!
 

iPawl

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 28, 2011
11
0
Malta
Haven't even thought the CPU would be the bottle neck! But it all made sense as soon as I started reading your post.

I immediatly downloaded CPU-Z, and started looking at the core speed.

Core Speed 800 MHz
Multiplier x 8.0
Bus Speed 100 Mhz

In a nutshell and some Googling around - it seems like the Sandy Bridge CPUs have 2 types of Throttles. One of them, seems like a soft throttle and its called BD PROCHOT. You cannot have the GPU running at full core and the CPU at the same time. The CPU kept being throttled at 800 mhz. The other throttle is a hardthrottle at there's no way around it - as soon as the CPU reaches 100 Degrees Celsius, it puts the CPU at 800mhz no matter what.

I downloaded an application called ThrottleStop. Unticked the option BD PROCHOT - limited the CPU to 1600mhz instead of 800mhz.

And BAM. Game playable. Capped at 30 frames, best appearance and the game is super super smooth.

Keeping an eye out on temps and its sitting around 80 degrees, GPU and CPU, whilst having guild wars playable and looking good.

What a relief! :)

Of course use ThrottleStop and untick the option BD PROCHOT at your own risk. This is how I'm keeping an eye out for temps :D
 

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SlickShoes

macrumors 6502a
Jan 24, 2011
638
0
If that's the case then why did the beta run fine for me?

Wondering what will happen tonight now!
 

MarcBook

macrumors 6502a
Jul 13, 2008
956
114
United Kingdom
I downloaded an application called ThrottleStop. Unticked the option BD PROCHOT - limited the CPU to 1600mhz instead of 800mhz.
Ah, yes! I'm not sure why, but I totally forgot to mention ThrottleStop! It's a great program, isn't it? As long as you keep an eye on the temperatures, it's a great way to ensure good performance.

In my experience, the Mac will do an emergency stand-by to protect itself if the CPU hits 95 degrees Celsius. I found that careful adjustment of the clock speeds to keep it no higher than 90 results in a huge, and safe, performance boost.

I'm glad your problem has been solved! :)
 

Huntn

macrumors demi-god
May 5, 2008
17,769
17,917
The Misty Mountains
It runs fine on my MBP (see sig) using bootcamp/W7, which I believe is what you have, from 15-40 fps depending on what is going on.

Interesting discussion about "throttles". I've not noticed any issues playing the game and wonder if I should be messing with ThrottleStop!?

Of course use ThrottleStop and untick the option BD PROCHOT at your own risk. This is how I'm keeping an eye out for temps :D
What is your hardware setup for the two displays in your graphic? Thanks.
 
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ljonesj

macrumors 6502a
Oct 20, 2009
944
63
Kingsport TN
i played the beta on my macbook pro 13 2010 model and it played great need to update the client on the windows partition on my macbook and try it again and update the nvidia drivers for it
 

Json81

macrumors regular
Jan 9, 2012
107
83
Haven't even thought the CPU would be the bottle neck! But it all made sense as soon as I started reading your post.

I immediatly downloaded CPU-Z, and started looking at the core speed.

Core Speed 800 MHz
Multiplier x 8.0
Bus Speed 100 Mhz

In a nutshell and some Googling around - it seems like the Sandy Bridge CPUs have 2 types of Throttles. One of them, seems like a soft throttle and its called BD PROCHOT. You cannot have the GPU running at full core and the CPU at the same time. The CPU kept being throttled at 800 mhz. The other throttle is a hardthrottle at there's no way around it - as soon as the CPU reaches 100 Degrees Celsius, it puts the CPU at 800mhz no matter what.
Did you have the game running while testing cpu-z?
Downclocked cpu is standard if there's no load.

If the computer really is throttling something is wrong (unless you're playing in a sauna).
Both cpu and gpu should be able to run at full speed at the same time.
I've been playing all weekend with late 2011, 2.4GHz and 6770m 1GB without any problems.
 

iPawl

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 28, 2011
11
0
Malta
Did you have the game running while testing cpu-z?
Downclocked cpu is standard if there's no load.

If the computer really is throttling something is wrong (unless you're playing in a sauna).
Both cpu and gpu should be able to run at full speed at the same time.
I've been playing all weekend with late 2011, 2.4GHz and 6770m 1GB without any problems.
I live in Malta and temps locally are over 30 degrees and it's also a very humid rock. So in a way, it feels like I'm playing in a Sauna yes.

I was monitoring GPU core speeds, and load and CPU-Z while running the game. As soon as the GPU kicks in at full speed, temperatures go up and my CPU stays at 800mhz. The throttle kicked in a few seconds after I launched the game after a cold boot. Doesn't take to long to reach those temperatures.

Interesting discussion about "throttles". I've not noticed any issues playing the game and wonder if I should be messing with ThrottleStop!?

What is your hardware setup for the two displays in your graphic? Thanks.
Launch the game in Windowed, and check the GPU core speeds, temps and CPU speeds with CPU-Z to see where it's at. If your game is running fine, you shouldn't need ThrottleStop.

I have the 15" MacBook Pro (left side) connected to a ThunderBolt Display - Right Side

Playing the game at 1600*900. FXAA On, Medium Shadows, Medium Shaders, Textures High. Capped at 30 frames to keep the GPU load down (and decreasing temperatures). Didn't encounter any fps drops, and I'm a happy GW2er. It wasn't the case before the throttle, because the CPU was being the bottleneck - hence why changing Graphics from High to Low did no effect on frames and performance.
 

Dr McKay

macrumors 68040
Aug 11, 2010
3,419
41
Kirkland
I don't know if it's because its a few years old and could be ladened with dust inside, but my Sony Vaio sounds like a Boeing 747 taxiing down the runway when Im playing this game, I use headphones. With the ATI Radeon 5650M I managed 40-50 FPS, however with each update my framerate seems to differ wildly. One update brought me down to roughly 25-30, another update put it back at 40. Running Windows 8 RTM with latest full release drivers. I have noticed that dicking with the video settings seems to have no effect on the framerate, I still get the same FPS when running everyone "off" at 1280x720 then I do at 1920x1080 everything on.

Will that Throttlestop let me know if my CPU is being throttled at all? I have a dual-core 2.8Ghz i7.
 

SlickShoes

macrumors 6502a
Jan 24, 2011
638
0
Now that I realise you live in Malta and I live in Scotland, there is a vast temperature difference between our environments haha!

Macbook Pro in my sig, same as yours and last night I played the game and it was all the same settings as you but at 1440x900 and it played between 45 fps and dropped to around 20fps in world v world with lots of stuff going on.

So I didn't have any of the performance problems you had in the OP with the same hardware but it really may just be down to you living somewhere that is actually warm and humid and me living somewhere we have had the worst summer on record!
 

Json81

macrumors regular
Jan 9, 2012
107
83
I live in Malta and temps locally are over 30 degrees and it's also a very humid rock. So in a way, it feels like I'm playing in a Sauna yes.

I was monitoring GPU core speeds, and load and CPU-Z while running the game. As soon as the GPU kicks in at full speed, temperatures go up and my CPU stays at 800mhz. The throttle kicked in a few seconds after I launched the game after a cold boot. Doesn't take to long to reach those temperatures.
Ok, that could explain it. Any chance you can test someplace with AC?
Maybe a cooling pad with fans could help you aswell.
 

Huntn

macrumors demi-god
May 5, 2008
17,769
17,917
The Misty Mountains
Launch the game in Windowed, and check the GPU core speeds, temps and CPU speeds with CPU-Z to see where it's at. If your game is running fine, you shouldn't need ThrottleStop.

I have the 15" MacBook Pro (left side) connected to a ThunderBolt Display - Right Side

Playing the game at 1600*900. FXAA On, Medium Shadows, Medium Shaders, Textures High. Capped at 30 frames to keep the GPU load down (and decreasing temperatures). Didn't encounter any fps drops, and I'm a happy GW2er. It wasn't the case before the throttle, because the CPU was being the bottleneck - hence why changing Graphics from High to Low did no effect on frames and performance.
Thanks. I ordered a mini port DVI cable yesterday. I'll report back with anything of interest. ;)
 

iPawl

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 28, 2011
11
0
Malta
Thanks. I ordered a mini port DVI cable yesterday. I'll report back with anything of interest. ;)
You can launch in game in Windowed mode, and launch the tools to see all those stats on the side.

These are the tools I'm using to keep an eye out:

RealTemp (monitors 4 cpu temperature cores)
GPU-Z (monitors GPU clock speeds and temps)
CPU-Z (mainly to monitor CPU clock speed)

Will that Throttlestop let me know if my CPU is being throttled at all? I have a dual-core 2.8Ghz i7.
You can use the tools I mentioned above, and run in the game in Windowed mode to see how all the components are working. Take a look at the temperatures, core speeds for both GPU and CPU - see if they're acting normally.


Ok, that could explain it. Any chance you can test someplace with AC?
Maybe a cooling pad with fans could help you aswell.
I will soon, don't have an AC in the house sadly and report tempretures back.

However - I did find something interesting: Yesterday windows did a bunch of updates (it was a clean install, and it did 91 updates to be exact). This morning I booted up again after all these updates, and decided to monitor temps WITHOUT using ThrottleStop. My CPU was going up to 3ghz since it was using TurboBoost, and temperatures were around 90 degrees without being throttled and shut down.

The CPU throttle should kick in at 100 degrees as MarcBook stated, and it seems like now after all those updates, my CPU runs at a higher clock speed then 800mhz. Windows could be the culprit (without the updates) that I had all these premature throttles. I could still be wrong.
 

anderssonma

macrumors newbie
Aug 31, 2012
1
0
Same here

I have identical specs as the OP and GW2 doesn't run too well for me either, everything on low and I get about 15-40 FPS and the game looks pretty *****.

I know a macbook aint optimal for gaming but I was expecting more than this, I can usually run a lot of other games at medium or so.
 

iPawl

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 28, 2011
11
0
Malta
I have identical specs as the OP and GW2 doesn't run too well for me either, everything on low and I get about 15-40 FPS and the game looks pretty *****.

I know a macbook aint optimal for gaming but I was expecting more than this, I can usually run a lot of other games at medium or so.
I am playing with these specs:

1660*900 Res connected to ThunderBolt Display
Animations High
Textures High
Shaders Medium
Shadows Medium
Reflections Off (can be set to Terrain & Sky with minimal impact)
Post Processing Off (can be set to high with minimal impact)
Depth Blur On

FPS capped at 30

Game looks pretty good with these settings - GPU load varies from 50-80%, which means I can notch the graphics up a little more or unlock the frames to get more frame rate, but I like to keep it steady, and reduce the load on my system. For a laptop, I think it's doing pretty good.

You should see similar performance as mine anyway, probably more if you live in a better environment than me. :D
 

C4LB33

macrumors newbie
Sep 1, 2012
3
0
guild wars 2

Where did you guys download it? i have a mac 13 inch 2.3 ghz i7 4gb 1333 mhz ddr3 can i play guild wars 2 and how? plz help
 

Huntn

macrumors demi-god
May 5, 2008
17,769
17,917
The Misty Mountains
Where did you guys download it? i have a mac 13 inch 2.3 ghz i7 4gb 1333 mhz ddr3 can i play guild wars 2 and how? plz help
You got Windows running on your Mac? Gotta have that.

I purchased mine through Best Buy, however their (PC only) Best Buy App sucks big ones, but it is an easy way to get the serial number which is all you need. The BB App was confusing because it did not seem to work properly as far as directing me to the download site. However, since you are downloading the client from Arenanet anyway, it's no big deal.

Once you get a serial number from any vendor, you simply go to this page: Guild Wars2 Support Page and follow the instructions to download the client.

On the GW2.com page it consists of creating a Guild Wars Account (if you don't have one all ready), signing in, entering your game serial number, and downloading.

Sept 4, 2012 UPDATE:
Do Not Buy this game from Best Buy as a Digital Download. Seems like they can't located their serial numbers. A hard copy should be fine. I found one at Amazon.com.
 
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Huntn

macrumors demi-god
May 5, 2008
17,769
17,917
The Misty Mountains

Sept 4, 2012 UPDATE:
Do Not Buy this game from Best Buy as a Digital Download. Be wary of buying a digital download from any vendor. Seems like there are problems finding available retail serial numbers. A hard copy (in a box) should be fine.